Former Utahn gets 3 years in prison for real estate coaching fraud

Published August 7, 2013 3:25 pm

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An Idaho resident has been sentenced to three years in prison on his guilty plea to fraud and money laundering charges for his role in a scheme that defrauded students of his real estate investment coaching business and mortgage lenders.

Keith Nelson Cook, 57, of Emmett, Idaho, pleaded guilty in March in U.S. District Court for Utah to seven charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering through a number of companies that included the Avalon Group, Avalon Management Group LLC, White Mountain Management Inc., TNA Resource Consulting LLC, The Turnberry Group and Desert Management Group.

The former Utah resident admitted as part of a plea bargain that he mass marketed his real estate investment program, falsely telling potential students they could make large returns on investments within a year and recruiting some as straw buyers of properties. He also failed to inform them of previous criminal convictions in Utah and California.

Cook admitted that he used student funds to pay personal and business expenses rather than as he had promised. Total losses were $1.9 million, court documents say.